I'm not just blogging blindly; I'm interested in what other people think and say, and I also am interested in how people find this website, and where people are linking to it.
I watch referring sites in my log stats, and often visit back. It was in this way that I came across a parenting forum this weekend.
A mother of three posted with a link to Jessica's Trust, urging people to read the information contained herein and, if they feel as strongly as she does, to sign the petition.
I was, though, dismayed to read a third reply to her post, from another mum, who didn't think that MEOWS charts were necessarily a good thing. She felt they could lead to unjustified intervention, use of prophylactic antibiotics, and only benefit 1 in half a million women.
Oh how I was dismayed! Where do I begin?
Midwives already take temperatures and observations. They already record them in a mother's notes. If there were more midwives who had more time to spend with the increasing number of mothers delivering and recorded observations more frequently, that would be a good thing. Surely no one would dispute that.
The use of MEOWS charts - which is already standard in a small but growing number of units - is widely supported and encouraged. It is not a new test/observation, but a different and inherently clearer way of recording observations. This means that a women who is beginning to deteriorate will be picked up faster and given any treatment that she requires for a range of conditions including, but not exclusively, childbed fever (CF). This means that severe illness and/or death can be avoided.
I am not an advocate of prophylactic use of antibiotics, indeed more women than are saved from sepsis may die of allergic reaction.
As for benefitting only 1 in 500,000 - how wrong is this. Purely looking at sepsis, in 2003-2005 the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health recorded 18 deaths (0.85 per 100,000) from Genital tract sepsis (GTS). This would be 4.25 per 500,000, but more women than that give birth in this country each year. The average number of deaths per annum from GTS/CF is 6.
Far, far more are affected (no data is recorded, but it should be) by childbed fever than this. I continually hear tragic stories of illness from survivors.
Would any of them not have wanted to receive earlier antibiotic treatment?